Why 49ers' Deebo Samuel was compared to Steve Smith Sr. growing up

Why 49ers' Deebo was compared to Steve Smith growing up originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Deebo Samuel is a one-of-a-kind player, though he did have some inspiration on his way to the NFL.

On a recent "Overtime SZN" feature, the star receiver explained which players he modeled his game after in high school and beyond.

"Once I started playing receiver knowing that I'm not that big, not that fast, I used to like to watch Julio [Jones]," Samuel said. "But a lot of people used to compare me to Steve Smith -- a little feisty animal, hard to bring down, do whatever it takes.

"So that's kind of who I compare my game to."

To say that Samuel is a tough cover, when healthy, is an understatement.

In 2021, Samuel posted a career-high 1,405 yards on 77 receptions in 16 games. He also averaged 18.2 yards per reception and had six touchdowns.

Moreover, the 26-year-old had 365 rushing yards on 59 carries with eight touchdowns, and aptly coined the term "wide-back" to describe his style of play halfway through the season.

For reference, Smith was a formidable player in his own right -- posting eight seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards.

The same can be said for Jones, who was an incredible receiver as an Atlanta Falcon, posting seven seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards, including leading the league in that department in 2015 (1,871) and '18 (1,677).

However, neither Jones nor Smith have showcased the multifaceted ability that the 26-year-old has, as Samuel's high school coach noted that he was a quarterback, receiver, and running back in his senior year.

RELATED: Deebo's hilarious one-liner after reading 49ers' contract offer

Although Samuel may have drawn inspiration from how Jones and Smith played, it's clear that Samuel is carving out his own path in the NFL.

Considering the flashes of brilliance he has shown in the last few seasons, it's only right that he's able to showcase his talent.

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